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15 April, 2024
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Why marriage shouldn't be the answer to €2B loans

Marriage becomes gateway to homeownership

Panayiotis Rougalas

Panayiotis Rougalas

In 2023, Cyprus secured a substantial loan totaling €2.02 billion from the Bank of Cyprus, earmarking €510 million specifically for housing initiatives. Meanwhile, the Greek Bank extended a separate loan amounting to €1.2 billion, with €343 million dedicated to housing projects.

The symbiotic relationship between homeownership and marriage is undeniable. Today, both pursuits are intertwined, with marriage often serving as a prerequisite for property ownership.

However, governmental proposals for young couples shouldn't merely advocate for a traditional Cypriot marriage. Rather, it's time for a comprehensive housing policy built on sturdy foundations.

The existing governmental approach lacks coherence, a paradox evident in both the Christodoulides and Anastasiades administrations. Recently, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition approved a Interest Subsidy Scheme, benefiting families with an annual income of €50,000 for purchasing or constructing primary residences. This inclusive scheme extends support to single individuals, large families, and those with children, offering financial aid and adhering to stringent economic criteria.

Consider the financial criteria for a single individual seeking governmental assistance to secure housing in a specific area. With an annual income cap of €25,000, the monthly net income stands at €1,658. After accounting for a reasonable rent of €400 for a studio apartment, coupled with utilities and other expenses totaling €500, only €1,158 remains at best. This amount significantly diminishes when factoring in essential expenses like transportation, social activities, and unexpected costs.

The Cypriot solution often proposes marriage for single individuals, presenting either an intimate ceremony with close acquaintances or an elaborate affair with unfamiliar guests. This strategic move allows individuals to secure a substantial portion of the loan required for a property down payment, making homeownership a tangible reality.

Despite these efforts, the current initiatives fail to address the pressing need for a realistic pathway to homeownership for individuals with stable incomes. The focus should shift from promoting traditional marriages to establishing a housing policy grounded in practicality and sustainability.

Perhaps this disconnect explains the staggering annual divorce rate of 800 cases per province in Cyprus—an issue deserving of deeper reflection.

Cyprus  |  marriage  |  economy  |  finance

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